Thursday, March 18, 2010


Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

We went to Murphy's Place for lunch in Christchurch. The lamb sandwich was most respectable, as was Joanne's shepherd pie. We headed back to catch the bus, and found a group of twenty young Maoris performing at the Cathedral Square. They danced, they tried to intimidate us, and they sang in wonderful harmony. It was a real treat at the end of our time in Christchurch.

The drive down the coast from Christchurch was much more civilized than was expected. We headed west and passed through the town of Geraldine. Ah, yes. Geraldine. The song rings through each and every time I hear the word: "I was born with the name Geraldine, and hair coal black as a raven; I travelled my life without a care, but all my love I was savin'".

The works crews were busy putting crushed rock on the road, and I passed a young lady directing traffic. Shortly thereafter, I heard a nasty noise coming from the rear left wheel. For all I know, it could have been a bearing. (I leave that area to Jack Dall.) I decided to go back into the town to a garage to investigate. I did not want to enter mountain roads with a faulty wheel. Again I passed the perky traffic girl. I asked her about garages. She said: "There are some in town. I heard your noise when you went by me. You've got a stone in your wheel. It's very common here. Find a street, put 'er in reverse, and slam down the pedal. That usually takes care of it!" By cracky, it did too. Always trust a local.

We continued toward the foothills of the Hunter Hills and the two Thumbs Range. The task ahead of us looked daunting. Massive mountains to climb, somehow. But the ranges opened, and there was a pass. Not Arthur's Pass, which we had seen earlier in the day. But Burke's Pass, and a beauty too. It got us to a massive plateau, albeit very windy, and an easy drive to Lake Tekapo.

This area certainly rivals Lake Louise, in the Rockies. The Lake is Caribbean blue, and surrounded by majestic mountains. We walked over to an area near the caravan park and found a restaurant, spa, and an outdoor arena. There is no ice at the present time, but the rink rat told me the ice is going to be laid down in a couple of weeks, as they approach winter here. It is used in the off-season as a roller rink.

Pig shit and gravy for dinner, a la Dot Molaski. Peas, potatoes, ground beef and there you have it. Off to the spa.

The spa worked out just fine, a few lazy hours in three different pools.

Yet again I met a chap who wanted to know about hockey. Most interested folks are fanatic rugby players, and like the contact that hockey offers. They want to know a little about the game. They are surprised to find that there is constant contact with sticks, sometimes leading to scraps. I also tell them that people rarely run to the concession stands when fights break out. There was `great interest in the Canada-USA final at the Olympics. Murphy's bar was jammed to the rafters at 9:30am for the game.

The weather has taken a bit of a turn for the worse. Very cool morning in Lake Tekapo. Off to the West Coast.

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